Oh, Tennessee

The first book about Tennessee politics I’d like to will into existence is, of course, a history of the Memphis Fords, with a whole narrative arc about the minor tragedy of Harold Ford Jr. not having a snazzy hat.

But after that, I swear, someone needs to write a book about Mike Turner. I vote for Jeff Woods.  Read this article and tell me you don’t get a vision of what the book would be like–all genial ambition and well-earned bluster and constant self-foot-shooting.

And then, tell me you don’t want to find a way to sit down with Jerry Maynard, give him a couple of beers, and hear this story again off the record.

“He was trying to make us feel more comfortable and saying that, growing up, he had black friends and black people came to his house for dinner, and basically he was letting us know he was comfortable with us,” Maynard said.

“And did that make you feel comfortable?” civil rights attorney Larry Woods asked Maynard.

“I know Mike,” Maynard testified. “I’ve known Mike for a while. So I gave him a pass. I wasn’t offended because I know Mike.”

“When you say you know Mike, what do you mean?”

“Mike’s a good old boy,” Maynard replied.

The thing is that you know this whole thing just sounds like Turner.  If he didn’t say this, folks sure know him well enough to come up with something that sounds plausible.

The thing I’m still confused about, though, is why Turner inserted himself into this situation to begin with.

Edited to add: This is the context. That’s the threat that kept Turner’s childhood idyllic. That’s the ghost that haunts this lawsuit. (h/t S-town Mike on Twitter.)

6 thoughts on “Oh, Tennessee

  1. He’s involved because he was on the re-zoning task force. He has said that he never made such statements, or his statements were taken out of context. So Waltwer Searcey makes a statement and you take it as the gospel. How about finding out from Mike what he said and do your own research. Depending on Jeff Woods for accurate reporting is like asking George Bush to give his opinion on the plight of the average American. Niether Bush or Woods has a clue.

  2. Punkinmom, come on. Duh he’s on the zoning committee. My question is “Why?” He could have turned it down. Did he not see what a clusterfuck it obviously was going to be? Or did he believe that he, of all people, could straighten this out?

    Because if Turner imagines himself as some kind of great negotiator, he needs to do some serious self-reflection.

    You can get angry, but multiple people remember it going down that way AND anyone who is even acquainted with Turner knows it’s not hard to imagine him saying something like that.

    Whatever Jeff Woods’s drawbacks, he can’t make up what people say in court.

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  4. I guess I’m guilty of trying to use my limited abilities to try and make our town a little better place for all of us. Yes, I did know it would be a challenge to serve on the task force, but are we supposed to run from challenges, if so I’m definitely not the right person. I have never been good at running. I have a daughter still in the Metro System and I have had 2 more daughters graduate from the system, so I really do truly care about making the system work for everyone, and what we are doing now does not work for anyone. I still read you everyday try to be kind every now and then.

  5. Mike, if I were this cute and kind on top of it, Campfield would have to devote all his time to trying to outlaw me, because I’d be causing people to violate the sanctity of marriage left and right.

    Listen, here’s the deal. I like you as a politician (obviously, I don’t know you as a person, but you remind me a lot of men I loved growing up) and I think you’re brilliant (and I know saying that out loud is going to get me raked over the coals).

    And I think that you are probably the quintessential Tennessee Democrat. If Tennessee Democrats want to be something, starting with being like you is not a bad place to start.

    But, Mike, I think you often confuse being a big shot with being a leader.

    When you lead, it’s incredible to behold, inspiring, wild, like watching an athlete in his prime.

    When you get busy acting like a big shot?

    It doesn’t go well.

    I love you for it. Don’t get me wrong. Your passion is right out there for the whole world to see.

    But I also know that you are in a powerful enough position that, when you’re on your game, life for Tennesseans improves.

    And when you’re busy being a big shot?

    Our lives get a little harder.

    If I’m unkind, it’s because I really want you to be the leader all the damn time. Do what you do well all the time and find ways to funnel the stuff you don’t do well off to people who do.

    Play to your strengths.

    It makes life better for us all.

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